Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Feeling Despair...and Empathy....

I was drifting off last night while listening to late night talk radio...as I often do...and the voices were explaining how reincarnation works. I've always searched for what the hell all this means and seem even more interested as I grow older. Like getting hungrier the closer you get to the buffet. The host was taking calls from listeners, often with comments on their own imagined end and final destination...or nothingness. A woman called and said, "I can't imagine a God that's good...with all we see here. If reincarnation is true...I don't want to come back. I'm too tired of all this." The host and guest went blank and began mumbling about their own beliefs. And they quickly took another call. That woman reached through my radio and squeezed my heart like a rubber stress ball till it hurt. I don't want to leave this place yet. But I'm not sure - either - if I want to come back.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Feelin' squirrelly....

I like the word squirrelly. It is very descriptive of a feeling we all feel, sometimes, and a way to describe actions we observe and those actors acting that way. According to my dear friend Merriam-Webster, it's an adjective defined as: 1. -tending to move around a lot, and 2. -very odd, silly, or foolish. (Been there...done that.) I frequently watch squirrels...more than most people. For years my wife and I would see a squirrel out our second floor living room window, often twice daily, doing a high wire act across the street. He (we called him a he but I would always add "or she") would walk the wire down to a main street and cross that street from 30 feet up. Whenever we saw him one of us would yell, "SQUIRREL!" to announce the crossing. And we knew he would return sometime soon with bounty in his mouth, still perilously perched above asphalt and humanity. Then, about 4 months ago, we realized no one had yelled "SQUIRREL!" for some time...we tried to watch for him...concerned about him (or her). After weeks of watching...we understood...he (or she) became a fond memory.... Then...a few months later my wife yelled "SQUIRREL!" and we saw a smaller version of our squirrelly friend doing the same high wire act. He (or she) was the rich brown color of sugar meant for baked beans. He (or she) would take the same route to and across our main street...and would return with his bounty. That was this last Spring...the time of renewal. Done.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Federal Constipation....

I don't think I've ever felt this heaviness in my bowels before.... It's just below that feeling in your stomach when you realized you didn't do your homework and Mrs. Botto is about to ask you to hand it in. Crap! This time, though, it's connected to my own government...and it's inability to download any ideas or solutions or collaboration that will free up this backload of emotion and stupidity. We need an enema. Something to flush the crap from the bowels of Washington and pollute the seas. I'm trying envision a gigantic Fleet's device entering our Capitol and, like a heat seeking missile, finding Mr. Boner and...there...it's being adminitered...slowly...his head explodes like a pimple on a teen's forehead and...relief!...the pressure adjusts and things start moving again...ahhhhhh.

Monday, September 16, 2013

"Getting massacred is nothing new to Kent State."

In preparation for their game Saturday, an LSU fraternity, Delta Kappa Epsilon, put up a banner from its house on Dalrymple Drive in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, that read, "Getting massacred is nothing new to Kent State." Okay...they did apologize...and these are kids, but what this demonstrates is a complete ignorance of the heartfelt emotions swirling the country on May 4th, 1970. I hear voices saying we should "just forget the past and move on," "stop dwelling on tragedy." But, as with the September 11th Memorials (and I heard complaints about them) we must force these memories and endure the pain they bring. "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," George Santayana (December 16, 1863 – September 26, 1952).

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The English....

David Frost was a very likable Englishman who won the hearts of many of us in the States. His show, That Was the Week That Was (TW3) skewered his own Brits at first, and then Frost brought it to the States in 1964. He had a great sense of humor and was quick to deprecate his own people. In his book, The English (1968), he described an English Lord on holiday in France, for the first time without his butler or other personal staff. One morning, his host asked if he was enjoying his stay. He said that he was, for the most part, but that he wondered why it was that his toothbrush did not foam as it usually did at home. He postulated that the French water might be the difference, but, in truth, his butler was not there to apply the toothpaste. Well...good night Mr. Frost, and thanks for everything and for getting that apology from Nixon.

Monday, August 26, 2013

America Speaks...?

I know there are a multitude of issues we all need to confront, head-on, and talk about or argue about and vote for or against. But, come on, why are so many wringing their hands about Ben Affleck playing Batman...or screaming because the "traitor," Jane Fonda, is portraying Nancy Reagan in "The Butler." I don't need to list all the things we should be talking about. But people...get a life.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Terrible beauty....

I love morons...but I especially love oxymorons. Mirriam-Webster defines them as: a combination of contradictory or incongruous words (as cruel kindness); broadly : something (as a concept) that is made up of contradictory or incongruous elements. Such as the wonderful phrase in the title. A volcano spewing death or an atomic bomb blast fits the description. The term is often used to poke fun...as in military intelligence. It has finally come to pass, however, that a single word has been granted the gift of becoming both moronic and oxymoronic and singularly incongruous. All hail the Republican.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Cry from Two Cities....

Comes a cry from cities far apart...and distant too in meaning,
A cry...a wail...East of Cleveland...Imperial echoes never fading,
Substance of a city fabled...again....
Then a cry far away for a child...a hope...a boy and celebration.
Yes, it's silly and meager feeling and from it smiles result...choose.  

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Trial....

Now that it's over, I guess it's time to place meaning to the outcome. And talking heads are busy on all the channels doing just that. But no matter how I analyze this...the only meaning seems to be: If you're young...and black...and wear a hoodie...don't go out in the evening.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Tale of Inconsistency....

The Republicans are pulling out there hair trying to figure out how to be more inclusive...trying to win the hearts and minds of those they've lost for years. And yet, the beat goes on and on with bills to restrict abortion and women's health care, and trying over and over to throw out Obamacare, and speaking with forked tongues about immigration reform.... From the State Legislatures to the Congress, the song remains the same. And, I keep saying I should not be surprised by their actions, but I am. Speaker Boner...where are the jobs?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Whistling Past the Graveyard....

We all do it. But something I recently understood was that everything we do is simply that. Our daily rituals...everything from trimming nose hairs to checking what day it is with the newspaper, is us, whistling and stringing momentary lapses from the fear of death into one long sense of ignorance and bliss. A simple joy... like the first sip of a favorite beverage on a hot day...a smile from a friend...realizing there are other people out there that think like you...everything we do throughout our conscious and subconscious day is just a path to that bliss. It is psychic survival. So I've decided to craft my whistling into something meaningful. Something more than just a comfortable feeling once I reach the end of the cemetery grounds. I could just learn "Ol' Man River," or commit to memory the entirety of "Dark Side of the Moon." That would work. But too much work. Carlos Castaneda had me going for a while...till I learned his stories were fiction. Even then, the concept of believing Death to be always on your right hand was beneficial and kept me on my toes. So accepting truths from a fictional sorcerer was no more silly than believing religion will save me. So I whistle...in all my ways to whistle and...come to think of it...I think my whistle needs wetting. One way to remain comfortably numb:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jySUpMqmzd4 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

An Attempt to Avoid Thoughts of Boston....

Joseph Conrad's character Mr. Kurtz, from "Heart of Darkness," famously mumbles "The horrors...the horrors" as he dies. And so it goes...on and on. Horrors visit countries, individuals, families, and entire peoples all the time. I probably never hear about the horrors most people face daily. And then there is Boston...yesterday.

But, in an attempt to block the horrors...if only for a moment...Derf's comic "The City," from yesterday's Plain Dealer, allowed that moment. He describes the "WOO GIRLS" that appear every Spring. I often have a discussion with my wife about cave people that walk among us in Lakewood, from bar to bar, and bar to car, and bar to home...at hours I should be dreaming. These cave people belch grunts and noises that sometimes approximate a "WOO" and I attempt a translation and I always fail. Thank you Derf for keeping the horrors at bay:


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Nuclear Dreams...Flashback

My young dreams were often filled with fireballs...a side effect of the duck and cover world we all grew up in. The fear was not irrational...the world was filled with thousands of missiles and warheads. It was reality. It is again. Back thanks to a pudgy faced kid with too many toys. Blustering while his people starve.

Nuclear Dreams 1950-2013

By Michael James Lawless

At night, when young,
We knew the bomb...
I died in dreams so often:
Ending as a flash of white fire.
Decades pass...
I stay alive. I don't Die
In dreams. I won't.
I died again last night...
I felt the bomb, nearby,
A clock set to ring,
In my mind, in my dream,
The trigger clicked, the dream ended.
I died again last night.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Pope Francis....

I can't say "we" have a new pope...I grew up Catholic...born into it from dad's side and kept at it even after he left. Those years included about 5 years that I was an "EX-CATHOLIC" - having decided to truly dislike the Church. Drugs and philosophy helped me mellow and I lost my hate with my faith. So, I don't have a new pope. But there is a new pope...and I have an affinity for Francis of Assisi, who could talk to the animals. We need Democrats that can do that. And I like this pope's personality. Maybe I don't agree with his beliefs on gays and abortion and birth control and other issues, but I think he'll be an outspoken improvement. He will butt heads with those Catholics in this country that want the Church to change, or simply will choose to disagree with Rome on those issues. But the Church can't change to suit Catholics. They need to either find another religion they can live with...or admit they are bad Catholics and want to stay that way. Up to them.      

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Rebirth Every Spring....

Stirring in the Bullpen
by Michael Lawless

            I guess I just hadn't thought it through. It seemed simple enough…baseball field…grass. But, here I was, at Jacob's Field, an Urban Baseball Cathedral in the heart of Cleveland, dad’s birthplace, with my dad in my pocket, and I still had to find a place to put him.
There was no problem at first. He wanted to be cremated and he wanted his ashes spread on Lake Erie. Dad loved the lake. He lived his last years in a 12th floor condo on Lake Ave. We would sit on his balcony some nights and watch the boats, all lit up, lights twinkling. Mom left him a while back- too much booze, too much pain. And, he’d lived the better part of thirty years in Chicago, away from mom, my two sisters, and myself. At first, he lived on the streets, grabbing food and sometimes a smile from the Salvation Army. Years later, he was back on his feet and taking care of his dad at the end. Gramps had an apartment on Lakeshore Boulevard overlooking another lake. When he died, and dad had nothing left in Chicago, we asked him to come home. He did, and I soon took over the same role he had played with his father.
            He loved the Tribe. We’d seen the last game at the old Municipal Stadium, and, in only the few times he was able to get to Jacob's Field, he had fallen in love with the park. At his funeral, after talking to old friends of his we never knew, my sisters and I came to feel that part of him that loved baseball and that part belonged at the Jake.
            The day was September 16th, his birthday and over a month since he had died. We planned on a late morning ceremony at Lakewood Park. We hiked down the path to the pier and all the way to the end where you can stand on the rocks and see the downtown buildings shining in the bright September sun. It was perfect. Just a couple of runners on the path that seemed to want to avoid us. We had the place to ourselves, which was good. We’d learned that there might be a legal concern with dumping anything into the lake-even your father.
            The ceremony was memorable, even moving. My wife, my sisters, their husbands, and myself each read what we thought were appropriate words in his memory and pictures were taken. Then, a moment of truth came when we had to open the black plastic container where dad now resided. This would be the first time any of us saw the results of our father’s cremation. The ashes were placed into a plastic bag inside the black plastic container. I opened the bag and pulled a sandwich baggie out of my breast pocket. I reached into the container's bag and grabbed a handful of dad and moved him gently into the baggie. Human ashes are strangely crystalline, not like, say, cigarette ashes, but somewhere between road salt and kitty litter. Just very different. I rolled him up, sealed the baggie, and tucked him away in the pocket of my jeans. Then, I poured the remaining ashes into the lake in front of us. The lake was calm, but I had assumed that the waves would quickly disperse dad among the rocks and to the bottom. The ashes seemed to flow back and forth and, like a cloud, maintained a shape just below the surface. I am not known for being overly spiritual, but he seemed with us. We hung around for some time, not saying much, just watching the cloud- dad, slowly sink. Then we said our goodbyes and left the park.
            My wife and I had tickets to the Tribe game that afternoon. So, we hopped in the car and headed for the Jake. The whole thing gave me the feeling like when you were a kid and tried to get away with something secret. We parked at the Madison Rapid Station and gave dad his last trip on R.T.A. I really thought there would be no problem finding a grassy area for dad at a ballpark. Like I said…baseball field…grass. But once in, I realized for the first time that the asphalt warning track ran the entire circumference of the field. And the grass was a good 8 to 10 feet from the closest railings. I had to figure this out. We found our seats and I planted my wife so I could keep looking and she could grab something to eat (and appear innocent).
            After about half an hour, it became plain that the only grass I would be able to get near enough to was in the bullpen. The game was just starting and, as always then, the ballpark was jammed. I knew dad would haunt me if I put him in the visitor's pen, and, who knew, his presence might inspire our pitchers. So, I chose our bullpen.
            An aisle parts the lower stands from the picnic area behind the pen and ends at a railing. Looking down over the railing at the rear of the pen, I saw green grass and knew this was it. I slowly pulled the baggie from my pocket and hung it out over the railing. I unrolled the bag and, knowing again that I didn't want to have to explain what I was doing, I quickly shook dad down toward the grass. But, all at once, it was windy. And again, dad was like a cloud. He started slowly down and then, with a jerk, a gust moved the cloud toward the back of several fan's heads in the lower stands to my left. Just as it seemed that I would be explaining to strangers why my father was in their hair, I felt another gust and the cloud, dad, went up and out and over the bullpen and then shot straight down into the grass. It was like at the lake. He seemed with me, and whole.
            Years later, I think of him whenever I'm near the lake, or at the ballpark, or watching the Tribe on the tube. He's now part of my hometown, and his. And if our pitchers in the bullpen see dust stirring out of the corner of their eyes, and the hairs rise on the back of their necks, I know it's just dad's way of saying, "Throw strikes!"

(Copyright 1998)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

When I'm 64...

I joke that pain is my friend...it is an acquaintance
who I visit daily and disregard outright.
Entropy frequently enters my thoughts and
it's reality is the Moriarty I chase and turn and run from...
the game is not afoot...it is a kick in the ass.

Monday, January 28, 2013


Meanings are transitional to the right,
Their words are changelings in the night...
Once a liberal...metamorphosed...commie,
As through a trance from a swami...
Earned and promised SS checks
Are welfare...so the right objects.
Guns aren't the weapons we should ban,
It's games and movies we should can.
It's almost time that they will say
Black is white and night is day.

Monday, January 21, 2013

It Still Takes a Lot of Balls....

It's January 21st, 2013, and, even though there are at least 8 scheduled inaugural balls in the nation's capital, it will be the lowest number of balls in the past 60 years, due to our struggling economy, according to About.com, Washington, DC. But a mystery still remains: Where did the quote, "Balls said the Queen. If I had two I'd be king," originate?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

They are really trying....

So, they had a "gun appreciation day,"
to counter bad karma at play...
they showed up en masse
to take on that task
and, instead, gave irony it's say.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Dancing on the Ceiling.

There was a old Mayan in DC,
who couldn't believe he did see,
Republicans thinking
the economy sinking
was as good as the END could be....

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Same Old Same Old....

There was an NRA member in DC,
so manic to stop our VeePee,
from changing a thing,
in the way his guns sing,
that he said nothing new, tee-hee.